Mayor Vincent Gray readies transition to elected D.C. attorney general

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray moved Thursday to begin implementing changes that will help the city transition to having an elected attorney general within two years.

"The District's voters made clear in 2010 that they want a fully independent attorney general," Gray said in a statement. "This legislation is a crucial element in ensuring that the voters' will is carried out."

Mayors have long appointed the D.C. attorney general, but 76 percent of voters supported a 2010 amendment to the city charter to make the post an elected position. The amendment set the date of the first election for attorney general for next year.

City officials said the proposal Gray announced Thursday would help smooth the transition by modifying the chain of command for lawyers who work for government agencies supervised by the mayor.

The proposal also calls for the creation of an office of lawyers who will coordinate legal activities between executive branch agencies. That office would report to the mayor.

The measure would also give the D.C. Department of Human Services the authority to collect child support, a power the attorney general currently holds.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan said he hopes lawmakers act on the legislation "before individual candidates for the elected attorney general emerge."

The primary election is set for April 2014.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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